Many people tend to forget the true meaning of Independence Day...instead focusing on the fireworks, their BBQ's, picnics...a three-day getaway weekend. And while all this is grand, we mustn't forget why we celebrate this holiday, and, although we may dress up in in our nation's colors of red, white, and blue, do we know the true meaning of our flag? July 4th, 1776 was the day we became a free country. This day is to celebrate the birth, the independence, of our country...the United States of America. This is the time to celebrate our freedom and our liberty, to celebrate the lives who fought that we may be free. I'd like to honor some of my ancestors who fought for our freedom.
Captain Peter Dickerson was born in Southhold, New York in 1724 and migrated to New Jersey, settling in Morris County. He was a member of the First Provincial Congress of 1776 and a captain of the 5th company of the 3rd Battalion of the first established Continental Army. It is said that he paid all the expenses for the equipment of his company out of his own pocket, and that that money that he advanced stands to his credit today in Washington, still unpaid.
Mark Walton, b. 1758 in Pequannock, New Jersey. He was a Captain in the Morris County Militia. He died 22 August 1817.
And his father, Jacob Walton, who went off to the war and was never heard from again. It is possible that he is the Jacob Walton who died in the Battle of Germantown, Pennsylvania.
The Continental Army was established in 1775 by order of the Continental Congress. New Jersey was requested to raise two battalions. Enlistment eligibility required that enlistees must be able bodied 'freemen' of age 16 or older. Pay was $5 per month, and recruits would serve until the end of the war. An estimated 3,000 men served.
My 5th great-grandfather, John Pollard, from Piscataway who served in the New Jersey Continental Line and Regiment. a teamster in Colonel Munson's brigade. And his son, John Bradford Pollard.
And my 5th great grandfather, Francis Leighton, b. 22 July 1732 in Ipswich, Massachusetts. His son, Reuben, my 4th great grandfather, b. January, 1762. Reuben enlisted in Company G, 5th Cavalry Brigade. He received the Distinguished Service Award.
Josiah Prescott of of Salisbury, Massachusetts, served in Captain John Peabody's company.
Oliver Prescott, son of the Honorable Benjamin Prescott. When the war broke out, he enlisted and in 1776, he was appointed Brigadier General.
"Do not fire until you see the whites of their eyes."--Colonel William Prescott
Colonel William Prescott, Commander of the The Battle of Bunker Hill. Prescott was chosen to lead 1,200 men to erect defenses for Bunker Hill on the night of June 16, 1775. The next day his troops, already tired from other defensive works and possessing limited ammunition, formed the centerpiece of American defenses when the British attacked. The assault was furious, but Prescott's men twice threw back the British soldiers, but it was hopeless. Prescott ordered his men to retreat. He was the last of the men to leave continuing to thrust with his bayonet. Throughout his life, he served in the militia.
Oliver Hildreth, Jonah Hildreth, Abijah Hildreth from Colonal James Prescott's regiment who 'marched from home for defense of ye Colony, against the ministerial troops and continued in service until ordered back to take care of the Tories in Townsend."
From Southhold, Long Island: Thomas Bartlett, John Bartlett, John Bartlett, Richard Bartlett, Richard Bartlett, Sr....John, Jonathan, and Nathan Wheeler
Captain Cyrus Dehart of Elizabethtown, New Jersey..an officer in the army of the Revolution
Major General Philemon Dickerson, leading General of the Militia of New Jersey.
And there are so many, many more who I have not found yet. Thank you for your service...and on this special day, know that you are loved and remembered...that your did not fight in vain. Ours is a free country.